Employment, pre- and post-Covid

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Comparing job growth before and after the Covid pandemic, attempting to remove the effect of the pandemic. Through June 2024.

In a Facebook discussion, someone complained about President Biden’s claim of large job growth by using pandemic-era lows as a starting point. It’s a legitimate question. (1)Biden’s Job Growth Chart Ignores Impact of Pandemic, https://www.factcheck.org/2024/02/bidens-job-growth-chart-ignores-impact-of-pandemic/ (2)“Biden’s claim is correct: the US economy added about 14.8 million jobs between Biden’s first full month in office, February 2021, and January 2024, more jobs than were added in any previous four-year presidential term. However, it’s important to note that Biden took office in an unusual pandemic context that makes meaningful comparison to other periods very difficult.” Fact checking President Joe Biden’s State of the Union, https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/07/politics/fact-check-joe-biden-state-of-the-union/index.html (3)“There’s a reasonable argument that a more accurate picture of job creation under Trump and Biden should set aside the collapse in employment during the early pandemic and the bounce back from that collapse in 2021. Even so, Biden beats Trump handily. Under Biden, from January 2022 to December 2023, employment grew at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent compared to a 1.5 percent rate under Trump from January 2017 to February 2020. That’s another Biden win, this time by a margin of 60 percent.” Data Don’t Lie: Biden’s Economic Record is Much Better than Trump’s, https://washingtonmonthly.com/2024/01/26/data-dont-lie-bidens-economic-record-is-much-better-than-trumps/ On Facebook, I asked how to create an analysis that removes or diminishes the effect of the pandemic, but I didn’t receive a response that I could use in an analysis.

A consideration is the period from the depth of the pandemic to some other point in time, call it point R for recovery. The jobs gained from the lowest level of jobs to point R might be called “catch-up” or “bounce-back” jobs. Critics argue that it’ss misleading for the Biden administration to take credit for creating these jobs. But jobs after point R, whenever that is, can be credited to Biden (at least as much as any president can claim credit for job creation).

I created two periods of time: Pre-pandemic and post-recovery. I ended the first period when the trend of job levels was its highest level before the pandemic. I started the second period when the jobs level returned to the pre-pandemic level. This is the point R mentioned earlier. Nonfarm job levels reached pre-pandemic highs in February 2020, and returned to values close to that around June 2022. Graphically, this is shown in Chart 1.

The two time periods are from A to B, and C to D. The first is the Trump administration from its start until the start of the pandemic’s effect on jobs. The second is the Biden administration from June 2022 (return to pre-pandemic job levels) to the present, which at the time of this writing is June 2024. (Point B to C is the catch-up period, which I do not count.)

Table 1 shows the results of an analysis producing the average monthly change in jobs for three sectors: Nonfarm, private sector, and government. (I used nonfarm jobs in the chart as that is the sector most commonly cited in monthly jobs reports and discussion.)

I asked someone (something) to explain this table:

This table can be used to analyze employment trends over time and to compare the growth or changes in employment across different sectors. Notably, the Government sector saw a relatively higher percentage increase during the second period compared to the first, and the overall monthly change rates for all sectors were higher in the second period than in the first. This could indicate a faster pace of job creation or recovery during the second period. (emphasis added)

There may be other ways to carry out this analysis. I welcome suggestions.

References

References
1 Biden’s Job Growth Chart Ignores Impact of Pandemic, https://www.factcheck.org/2024/02/bidens-job-growth-chart-ignores-impact-of-pandemic/
2 “Biden’s claim is correct: the US economy added about 14.8 million jobs between Biden’s first full month in office, February 2021, and January 2024, more jobs than were added in any previous four-year presidential term. However, it’s important to note that Biden took office in an unusual pandemic context that makes meaningful comparison to other periods very difficult.” Fact checking President Joe Biden’s State of the Union, https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/07/politics/fact-check-joe-biden-state-of-the-union/index.html
3 “There’s a reasonable argument that a more accurate picture of job creation under Trump and Biden should set aside the collapse in employment during the early pandemic and the bounce back from that collapse in 2021. Even so, Biden beats Trump handily. Under Biden, from January 2022 to December 2023, employment grew at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent compared to a 1.5 percent rate under Trump from January 2017 to February 2020. That’s another Biden win, this time by a margin of 60 percent.” Data Don’t Lie: Biden’s Economic Record is Much Better than Trump’s, https://washingtonmonthly.com/2024/01/26/data-dont-lie-bidens-economic-record-is-much-better-than-trumps/

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